Tuff’s PPC Analyst, Joe, On Settling Into Tuff and Finding Ownership

Joe Nguyen

Meet Joe Nguyen, a PPC analyst at Tuff. Joe partners with Tuff’s clients to identify, test, and scale profitable paid channels. 

Below, he shares what it has been like settling into a new role during a pandemic, the flexibility remote work has provided,  and what advice he’d give to someone new to working in PPC.


It’s been about 6 weeks since you joined Tuff. How has it gone getting settled?

Everyone has been super helpful. I’ve mostly been learning more about managing accounts and Google Ads. I came from an agency where I was a sales manager. So I audited accounts, but I wasn’t deeply in the day-to-day managing and creating campaigns for clients. So it’s been super helpful working with Chris and using him as a backboard for everything.

I’ve learned a lot in the last six weeks, jamming in a lot of information and getting into a rhythm. I’ve been getting to know my team members, how each one communicates and works together, and how each Growth Marketer manages their clients and work. It’s been a learning process to see how everyone operates. Overall, getting settled has been really positive!

What have you been working on since you joined Tuff? 

My first few weeks I was shadowing PPC accounts that Chris was working on. And, now we’re being thoughtful about how we transition some of those clients over to me. We also have had two new clients join since I started and I’m taking those on without Chris. I have six clients that should be a hundred percent me by the next month.

What were you working on before? What led you to Tuff? 

I was at an agency before Tuff and it was a pretty large one. We did pretty much everything – Google Ads management, Facebook, email marketing, the whole spread. So it wasn’t a crazy transition by any means but the scale is different – there is more of a startup mentality at Tuff.  At my old agency, there was a department for pretty much everything. If something was wrong with a data feed, there was an analytics department and a coding department. With Tuff, you are the department! 

This has been really good and I’ve been learning like crazy over the last six weeks. There’s a level of ownership with Tuff where you can just make stuff happen. I’m learning more on the technical side but I also am getting to spend more time with clients. Something that is cool about Tuff is how well we get to know our clients and stick with them. 

I also recently had a baby, Margo. She was born 10 weeks early so I’ve been spending a lot of time at the hospital. I needed to be here for my wife and Tuff’s fully remote team structure has made that possible for me. I also transitioned from more of a reactive sales role where to heads down PPC work. 

Why did you decide to join Tuff? What was it that made you say ‘yes’?

Coming from a bigger company you start to kind of feel like a cog in an entire machine, you know? Something I thought was cool about Tuff in the interview process is I asked Ellen if she planned on scaling Tuff or how big she could see Tuff being. And, while she said there is always room to change and grow, she talked a lot about our client base and making sure our growth is intentional and that each new client makes sense for Tuff. No growth just for the sake of growth but intentional, not just taking on anybody who is gonna pay. 

This gives me a feeling that if we only work with a select number of qualified clients, and each person only manages a couple of clients, we can actually cater to each client. We can be more invested because we’re not being asked to churn out as much work as we possibly can and check boxes quickly. There’s a higher quality of contribution here that has me feeling more invested.  

What is it about digital marketing that gets you fired up? 

I think it’s crazy, in general, to think that you can just pop up your store or your website right in front of someone at the moment they’re looking for what you offer. If you have a business or a product that you really think can help somebody in an exceptional way, PPC is an awesome tool for getting it to them. So to be able to work with clients to leverage these tools is a cool thing.

There are a lot of aspects of PPC where you can get lost in the sauce, hours can go by really quickly when I’m working on an account. One cool thing about Google Ads is the awareness. You can see the search volume that’s already there, so it just becomes a matter of getting your product or service in front of that search volume. 

Okay – enough work stuff. Tell me about yourself outside of the context of Tuff. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Honestly I was already kind of like a homebody pre-COVID so my lifestyle hasn’t changed too much. I’m spending a lot of time at the hospital with my wife and baby. And, I feel really lucky that I’m able to do that right now. I have the flexibility of working remotely and safely while service providers don’t. I feel pretty blessed, you know, and always try to be grateful because  there’s a lot of people that aren’t working right now. 

In slightly more normal times, I love watching movies, going to the gym, spending time with my family. 

What is something about you that typically surprises people? 

I don’t really have a lot of things to humble brag about, I don’t have anything like a sweet coin collection. In my early twenties I traveled a lot for work. My cousin and I had a business flipping iphones. We would buy them here in the U.S. and then travel to countries where it was tough to get an iphone at the time. 

What is your best advice for people looking to learn more about PPC?

There’s a lot of content out there from places like Google Ads Academy and, of course, YouTube. I’ve learned a lot from watching videos of other people showing their accounts. 

But, having Chris to work with has been hugely helpful. If you’re able to find someone you can shadow, I would recommend that. It’s helpful to see someone’s mindset as they work through accounts. Or, even if you can grab a cup of coffee with someone in the field to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Running a Chatbot Test in 2019

It’s pretty dang hard to get around the internet these days without hearing about chatbots and ‘the future of AI’. It’s a hot topic and something we’re pretty excited about.

I’m pretty strict about what I subscribe to and here is my inbox filtering for AI (so not including emails using chatbot specifically).

We’ve been learning more about what customers need and expect from their online experience, and helping clients run a chatbot test to see how the channel converts. It can serve as a great user acquisition channel, depending on your target audience.

In this post, we’ll briefly cover what opportunities a chatbot can help you take advantage. But, the true intention is to give you a framework and template for running a chatbot test on your own to see if it works well for your customers as well as employees.

Tell me more about chatbots…

Chatbots are Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs that can process and respond to simple queries from your audience like an interactive FAQ. You’ve seen them across the internet, often in the bottom right corner of a web page. It looks similar to live chat but with programmed data on the other end.

Screenshot of Drift.com's homepage with a chatbot in the bottom right corner.

When a company is utilizing a chatbot, they’ve taken the time to teach the chatbot the answers to questions they expect a customer to ask.

It works a bit like a flow chart:

Examples of companies running chatbots…

  • Duolingo uses chatbots inside their language teaching app and allows users to practice conversation by simulating text exchanges. [Learn more about the bot here]
  • Apartment Ocean is a chatbot built to help real estate agents qualify leads and learn more about potential customers. [Learn more about the bot here]
  • Pizza Hut allows people to order pizzas and reorder their favorites via a Facebook messenger chatbot. [Test out their bot here]
  • Casper, a mattress company, has a purely promotional bot that is active from 11pm to 5am to ‘keep you company when you just can’t fall asleep’. While it can chat on many topics from Stranger Things to Seinfeld, it also takes the opportunity to plug their mattresses from time to time. [Learn more about the bot here]

Why should I run a chatbot test?

Do you ask customers to fill out a form?
Chatbots have helped create a shift toward something being coined as ‘conversational marketing’. You can use chatbots to replace long forms with more intuitive and natural conversations. You can set up a bot to ask those same qualifying leads your forms are searching for. Depending on the potential customer’s answers, the chatbot will send them through the right flow.

Looking to help your sales agents save time and close more leads?
A chatbot can automatically qualify leads and get them to the right agents. As research from InsideSales.com and the Harvard Business Review shows, even if you wait just five minutes to respond after a lead first reaches out, there’s a 10x decrease in your odds of actually getting in touch with that lead. After 10 minutes, there’s a 400% decrease in your odds of qualifying that lead. By automating this crucial step, your chatbot can quickly disqualify leads and get the most promising ones quickly to your agents.

Want to improve your customer experience?
There’s never going to be a future where Artificial Intelligence totally takes over because humans and chatbots are good at different things. Leaning on our strengths and the strengths of chatbots can make for a power team. When a chatbot pilot program was initiated in a telco company, it could handle 82% of common queries in customer service. After 5 weeks of tweaking, analyzing, and optimizing by human agents, its success increased to 88%, according to Accenture.

Let’s check out the data

In the 2018 State of Chatbots study from Drift and friends, they surveyed over 1,000 internet users in the United States and made sure to match their audience to represent the U.S. adult online population. Here’s what the group had to say about their current online experiences:

In addition to helping people get quicker answers, you can use the chatbot data to make changes to your website and try to eliminate the root cause of the most frequently asked questions.

Do you have customers spanning multiple generations?: One preconceived notion I had about chatbots is that they were better suited for companies with younger target audiences. I was excited to find data saying quite the opposite. In that same 2018 State of Chatbots Study, Drift found that Baby Boomers (age 55+) were 24% more likely than Millennials (age 18-34) to expect benefits from chatbots in five of the nine following categories:

I’m in. How do I run a chatbot test?…

We feel really great about the future of chatbots and their ability to improve customer experience and to deliver higher quality leads. That being said, before jumping in with both feet we suggest running a chatbot test to validate or invalidate whether it works well for customers and team.

We’ve organized a super simple experiment to help sales teams run a chatbot test and see if it could work for them:

  • Step 1: Develop a single hypothesis about what the chatbot will deliver
  • Step 2: Explicitly Identify the metric that will help you validate or invalidate your hypothesis
  • Step 3: Get benchmark data for that metric. You may be able to pull this from your current process or will need to build time into your experiment to capture it.
  • Step 4: Test chatbot
  • Step 5: Compare the two data sets to see if your hypothesis is valid or invalid.

Here is an example chatbot test:

  • Step 1 – Hypothesis: Implementing a chatbot will decrease the amount of time it takes to make first contact with a lead.
  • Step 2 – Metric: Hours from form filled to first contact.
  • Step 3 – Benchmark data: Depending on the size of your sales team, pull the data from at least 10% of your sales agents. If you are already measuring this metric, awesome! Just pull it and proceed to Step 4. If not, spend 10 days (without the agents’ knowledge) measuring this.
  • Step 4 – Test: There are a number of chatbot solutions out there. We recommend Intercom’s 14-day free trial because it’s a lean and easy way to get started and they have great analytics. Have the same agents you used for benchmark data spend 10 days using Intercom’s chatbot to qualify and make initial contact with leads.
  • Step 5 – Compare: In a spreadsheet, take the data from your two sets of 10 days and compare your metric, ‘hours from form filled to first contact’. Which one has a lower average? Does one have a better conversion rate?

Continued reading about Chatbots:

Ready to run a chatbot test?

If you’re interested in testing out a chatbot for your sales, customer success, or customer support team, we hope this experiment helps. We’re also always available to talk through ideas and implement an experiment tailored to your team and goals. Check out a

with Tuff.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.